Lawyers for the two men who accused former Syracuse assistant men's basketball coach Bernie Fine of sexual abuse are asking a judge to let their defamation suit go forward. YNN's Erin Clarke joined us from the newsroom to sum up what was in the latest court documents filed.
SYRACUSE N.Y. -- Bobby Davis and Mike Lang's lawyers say their suit should go forward because their clients reputations were harmed when Jim Boeheim told local and national media that the two men were liars and “trying to get money.”
They say that Jim Boeheim is a famous and influential coach whose words were taken as fact by many people who heard or read his statements.
Those statements, of course, were made to the Syracuse Post Standard, ESPN and the New York Times when the accusations were first made public.
It should be mentioned that Jim Boehim later retracted his earlier statements, admitting that he had misspoken, but Davis and Lang's lawyers say the harm had already been caused.
In an affidavit, Bobby Davis said “Having someone like Jim Boeheim calling me a liar and stating that I tried to get money for my reports when I haven't has been extraordinarily painful.”
Along with the papers filed was also an affidavit from a clinical director at Vera House. She says that comments made by Jim Boeheim suggesting that Davis and Lang took so long to come forward because they were lying is detrimental to the plaintiffs and other victims of childhood sexual abuse who fear punishment or actions like this if they come forward.
The clinical director also said that those kinds of actions often send victims deeper into self blame and alienation.
Boeheim's lawyers argue that the case should be dismissed because the sarcastic tone in which Boeheim's comments were made “negate any possible impression that he was making factual assertions” and that Boeheim's statements were that of opinion rather than fact.